Historical Jesus

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Historical Jesus

#43121  Postby RealityRules » Jun 23, 2020 10:41 pm


"one could argue that the author of Mark’s story about Jesus crucified by Roman ruler Pontius Pilate (Mark 15) was a historicization of Paul’s account of Christ slain by ruling daimons (middling beings between humans and gods; 1 Cor. 2:8)."

Litwa, M. David (2019) How the Gospels Became History, Yale University Press (Synkrisis series).
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43122  Postby RealityRules » Jun 23, 2020 10:42 pm

In The Gnostic Paul: Gnostic Exegesis of the Pauline Letters, 1975/1992, Elaine Pagels examined 2nd century interpretations and exegesis interpretations of the Pauline epistles. Despite the traditional characterization of Paul as an opponent of 'the Gnostics', and of 'Gnosticism' as unbiblical and inherently at odds with “true Christianity,” Pagels argued that, through the 2nd century a.d., there were two antithetical traditions of Pauline exegesis: one read Paul 'gnostically' and the other anti-gnostically.

... she argued that it is important to consider how the anti-gnostic exegesis of the heresiologists may have influenced our understanding of Paul’s letters – in other words, how the [2nd century] reception history of texts impacts the way those texts themselves are understood. ...Pagels showed how traditional scholarship on the Valentinians had been shaped by the polemics of the second- and third century heresiologists, and [she, Pagels] employed close textual analysis to deepen our understanding of both Valentinian and non-Valentinian Christianity.

Philippa Townsend, 'Explorations at the Edges of Orthodoxy: Elaine Pagels’ Study of the Early Christian World', in Beyond the Gnostic Gospel: Building on the Work of Elaine Pagels, Tübingen : Mohr Siebeck, 2013; pp. 1-16.

See also Pagels, “‘The Mystery of the Resurrection’: A Gnostic Reading of 1 Corinthians 15,” JBL 93 (1974): 276–88.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43123  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 24, 2020 4:51 am

RealityRules wrote:

"one could argue that the author of Mark’s story about Jesus crucified by Pontius Pilate (Mark 15) was a historicization of Paul’s account of Christ slain by ruling daimons (middling beings between humans and gods; 1 Cor. 2:8)."

Litwa, M. David (2019) How the Gospels Became History, Yale University Press (Synkrisis series).


The common notion of the Greek term "daimon" in antiquity was one's own "guardian spirit".
This is similar to the Latin term genius: attendant spirit present from one's birth, innate ability or inclination’

REFERENCE: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... ry=dai/mwn

The church floated a corporate version in the NT story - the "Holy Spirit" of the risen Big J.
The concept of the "personal guiding spirit" was thus made completely redundant by the NT.
The NT story has Jesus casing the "daimons" into the swine to be drowned.

The corporate "Holy Spirit" of McJesus is an ideological virus.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Historical Jesus

#43124  Postby RealityRules » Jun 24, 2020 6:18 am

RealityRules wrote:

"one could argue that the author of Mark’s story about Jesus crucified by Roman ruler Pontius Pilate (Mark 15) was a historicization of Paul’s account of Christ slain by ruling daimons (middling beings between humans and gods; 1 Cor. 2:8)."

Litwa, M. David (2019) How the Gospels Became History, Yale University Press (Synkrisis series).

Litwa was likely focusing on ruler, archontōn / ἀρχόντων, used in 1 Cor. 2:8 in the context of the preceding verses1, and Pilate being a ruler.

    1 1 Cor 2:6, in context, -

    1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I come proclaiming the mystery of God to you, not in lofty words or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified ...

    4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible Words of wisdom [logos sophia], but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

    6 among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish

    7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

Daimon is a transliteration of ancient Greek: δαίμων (latinized to daemon). It's a synonym of demon, but daimon/ daemon is used today to distinguish from the Christian concept of demon being evil - daimons of ancient Greek mythology were of both good and bad character.

Daimon meant tutelary deity, as in a minor deity or spirit that watched over or guarded a place, person, group, or activity -

    guardians or supporters, or even dispensers, perceived, as Litwa says, as 'middling beings between humans and gods'
They would have been perceived in ancient times as ruling the lower levels of heaven


Some of these verses go to Earl Doherty's propositions and argument that Jesus was crucified in a lower level of heaven
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43125  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 24, 2020 8:38 am

RealityRules wrote:
RealityRules wrote:

"one could argue that the author of Mark’s story about Jesus crucified by Roman ruler Pontius Pilate (Mark 15) was a historicization of Paul’s account of Christ slain by ruling daimons (middling beings between humans and gods; 1 Cor. 2:8)."

Litwa, M. David (2019) How the Gospels Became History, Yale University Press (Synkrisis series).

Litwa was likely focusing on ruler, archontōn / ἀρχόντων, used in 1 Cor. 2:8 in the context of the preceding verses1, and Pilate being a ruler.

    1 1 Cor 2:6, in context, -

    1 When I came to you, brothers and sisters, I come proclaiming the mystery of God to you, not in lofty words or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified ...

    4 My speech and my proclamation were not with plausible Words of wisdom [logos sophia], but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

    6 among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish

    7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.


True. Yes I agree that Paul was talking about rulers / archons.

Daimon is a transliteration of ancient Greek: δαίμων (latinized to daemon). It's a synonym of demon, but daimon/ daemon is used today to distinguish from the Christian concept of demon being evil - daimons of ancient Greek mythology were of both good and bad character.

Daimon meant tutelary deity, as in a minor deity or spirit that watched over or guarded a place, person, group, or activity -

    guardians or supporters, or even dispensers, perceived, as Litwa says, as 'middling beings between humans and gods'
They would have been perceived in ancient times as ruling the lower levels of heaven


The Stoics and the Platonists used the term a fair bit.
Here is one example that appears to have been "lifted" by the NT authors:

    "Nevertheless he has placed by every man a guardian,
    every man's Daimon, to whom he has committed the care of the man,
    a guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived.

    For to what better and more careful guardian could He have entrusted each of us?
    When, then, you have shut the doors and made darkness within,
    remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not;
    but God is within, and your Daimon is within, and what need
    have they of light to see what you are doing?

    To this God you ought to swear an oath just as the soldiers do to Caesar. .....

    ~ Epictetus

Here is what is written at Matthew 6:6 -

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

To what extent (if any) do you think Matthew lifted this from Epictetus?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Historical Jesus

#43126  Postby RealityRules » Jun 24, 2020 9:26 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:The common notion of the Greek term "daimon" in antiquity was one's own "guardian spirit".

And of course 'guardian angel'.

One description I've seen for daimon is 'personified spirit', daimona, as an abstract concept,

eg. Eros, which achieved cult status; or Eusebeia,a the personified spirit (daimona) of piety, loyalty, duty and filial respect.

    ( a perhaps that's how Eusebius got 'his' name)

Leucius Charinus wrote:
The Stoics and the Platonists used the term a fair bit.
Here is one example that appears to have been "lifted" by the NT authors:

    "Nevertheless he has placed by every man a guardian,
    every man's Daimon, to whom he has committed the care of the man,
    a guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived.

    For to what better and more careful guardian could He have entrusted each of us?

    When, then, you have shut the doors and made darkness within,
    remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not;
    but God is within, and your Daimon is within, and what need
    have they of light to see what you are doing?

    To this God you ought to swear an oath just as the soldiers do to Caesar. .....

    ~ Epictetus

Here is what is written at Matthew 6:6 -

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

To what extent (if any) do you think Matthew lifted this from Epictetus?


Seems likely he did ...

------------------------------

eta: In ancient Greece daimons/demons were considered divine powers, fates, guardian spirits, or angels, who gave guidance and protection. They scarcely figure in Ancient Greek art or mythology: their presence was felt, rather than seen.

The “Good” demons were referred to as “Eudaimon”, Eudaimonia, or, “Agathodaimon”, noble spirits.

The not so good daimons, resembling the jinns, or genies of Arab folklore, were called “Kakodaimon”, such as the “Keres”, daughters of Nyx (the Goddess of night) and Erebus (the personification of shadows).
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43127  Postby Svartalf » Jun 24, 2020 9:34 am

given dates of publication, seems unlikely to me.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43128  Postby RealityRules » Jun 24, 2020 9:57 am

Svartalf wrote:given dates of publication, seems unlikely to me.

Epictetus was a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, secretary to Nero. Epaphroditos allowed Epictetus to study Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, which enabled him to rise in respectability, so, when he obtained his freedom, sometime after the death of Nero in 68 A.D., he began to teach philosophy in Rome. Arrian studied under Epictetus and claimed to have written the famous Discourses from his lecture notes.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43129  Postby RealityRules » Jun 24, 2020 10:07 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Here is what is written at Matthew 6:6 -

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.


Thomas Brodie notes, in Birthing the New Testament: the Intertextual Development of the New Testament Writings, 2004, that Matt 6:1-18 reflects use of Romans 10:2-23, and he notes wrt. Matt 6:1-18 per se -

.6:4 -- 'your Father, who sees what is done in secret' [will reward you]
.6:6 -- 'your Father, who sees what is done in secret' [will reward you]
6.18 -- 'your Father, who sees what is done in secret' [will reward you]

Romans 10:6,8,and 9 all have 'in your heart'

Brodie notes "Interwoven in this threefold pattern is an emphasis on prayer."

Interestingly, the Lord's Prayer - which some say in Marcionite - is among those repeated pericopes, at Matt 6:9-13.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43130  Postby Hermit » Jun 24, 2020 10:09 am

Svartalf wrote:given dates of publication, seems unlikely to me.

Epictetus was born in 50 and died in 135 CE. The earliest extant copy of Matthew 6:6 is dated...
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43131  Postby Svartalf » Jun 24, 2020 11:24 am

RealityRules wrote:
Svartalf wrote:given dates of publication, seems unlikely to me.

Epictetus was a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, secretary to Nero. Epaphroditos allowed Epictetus to study Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, which enabled him to rise in respectability, so, when he obtained his freedom, sometime after the death of Nero in 68 A.D., he began to teach philosophy in Rome. Arrian studied under Epictetus and claimed to have written the famous Discourses from his lecture notes.

Indeed, but since Matthew is obviously bathed in Jewish prophetic tradition, it is rather safe to assume he is from Palestine, and thus not in the optimal area to have had access to Epictetus' teachings so as to include them in his gospel.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43132  Postby Hermit » Jun 24, 2020 12:20 pm

Svartalf wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
Svartalf wrote:given dates of publication, seems unlikely to me.

Epictetus was a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, secretary to Nero. Epaphroditos allowed Epictetus to study Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, which enabled him to rise in respectability, so, when he obtained his freedom, sometime after the death of Nero in 68 A.D., he began to teach philosophy in Rome. Arrian studied under Epictetus and claimed to have written the famous Discourses from his lecture notes.

Indeed, but since Matthew is obviously bathed in Jewish prophetic tradition, it is rather safe to assume he is from Palestine, and thus not in the optimal area to have had access to Epictetus' teachings so as to include them in his gospel.

You are working with the assumption that Matthew - whoever that person was - wrote Matthew 6:6. Given the many additions, excisions, interpolations and downright forgeries that are known to have been committed on the New Testament between the earliest possible date the gospel of Matthew could have been written and the earliest physically extant document on which Matthew 6:6 appears, that assumption is not a particularly safe one to cling on to.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43133  Postby Svartalf » Jun 24, 2020 12:47 pm

Well, I assume that "Matthew" wrote the gospel attributed to him, whoever he might actually have been, yes. Now, if 6:6 is a later interpolation added in by a forger who, given the additional time for diffusion of the Epictetan material, knew of stoicism, I can't do much about that. And up to now, I ve studied NT assuming that what we have was assembled in good faith, not riddled with medieval interpolations and otherwise falsified. I am not enough of a scholar to try and parse the age and provenance of the various passages.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43134  Postby Hermit » Jun 24, 2020 1:45 pm

Svartalf wrote:Well, I assume that "Matthew" wrote the gospel attributed to him, whoever he might actually have been, yes. Now, if 6:6 is a later interpolation added in by a forger who, given the additional time for diffusion of the Epictetan material, knew of stoicism, I can't do much about that. And up to now, I ve studied NT assuming that what we have was assembled in good faith, not riddled with medieval interpolations and otherwise falsified. I am not enough of a scholar to try and parse the age and provenance of the various passages.

While admitting that, like you, I have not studied the provenance of biblical texts in any detail, I am very much aware that many additions, excisions, interpolations and downright forgeries that are known to have been committed on the New Testament between the earliest possible date the gospels could have been written and the earliest physically extant document on which Matthew 6:6 appears. This is why I cautioned you that the assumption that Matthew - whoever that person was - wrote Matthew 6:6 is not a particularly safe one to cling on to.

It would be interesting to hear from one of the several more knowledgeable members posting in this thread if the equivalent of Matthew 6:6 appears in the earliest extant copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus (which has no chapter or verse numbers). Even if it is, it is very much worth keeping in mind that that codex is dated to 330 CE at the earliest. That provides plenty of opportunities for changes, especially considering that it post-dates the First Council of Nicaea, in which the Bishops were tasked by Constantine to determine what texts are canonical and which are not, by at least five years. From what little I have read, the proceedings of the Council constituted quite some bunfights regarding several issues, and several more were convened in attempts to tie up loose ends. They were the First Council of Constantinople in 381, the Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council of Chalcedon in 451, the Second Council of Constantinople in 553, the Third Council of Constantinople from 680–681 and the Second Council of Nicaea in 787. Undoubtedly, settling the squabbles resulted in further changes to the "Gospel Truth™". Of course, what that truth was depended on which faction won.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43135  Postby RealityRules » Jun 25, 2020 1:22 am

Svartalf wrote:
RealityRules wrote:Epictetus was a slave in Rome to Epaphroditos, secretary to Nero. Epaphroditos allowed Epictetus to study Stoic philosophy under Musonius Rufus, which enabled him to rise in respectability, so, when he obtained his freedom, sometime after the death of Nero in 68 A.D., he began to teach philosophy in Rome. Arrian studied under Epictetus and claimed to have written the famous Discourses from his lecture notes.

Indeed, but since Matthew is obviously bathed in Jewish prophetic tradition, it is rather safe to assume he is from Palestine, and thus not in the optimal area to have had access to Epictetus' teachings so as to include them in his gospel.

Even though Matthew is considered one of the most Jewish of the canonical gospels (if not the most Jewish), I dunno if we can assume where it was written.

Svartalf wrote:... Now, if 6:6 is a later interpolation added in by a forger who, given the additional time for diffusion of the Epictetan material, knew of stoicism, ...

I dunno if there's any proposition or discussion about Matt 6:6 being an interpolation.

There is, however, plenty of propositions, arguments and discussions about many aspects of the NT texts being midrash based on OT texts, Homer's texts, and on other texts.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43136  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 25, 2020 4:36 am

Matthew 6:6 in Codex Sainaiticus:
http://www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/manus ... omSlider=0

RealityRules wrote:I dunno if there's any proposition or discussion about Matt 6:6 being an interpolation.


Neither do I.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43137  Postby Hermit » Jun 25, 2020 5:20 am

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Re: Historical Jesus

#43138  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 28, 2020 2:05 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
I dunno if there's any proposition or discussion about Matt 6:6 being an interpolation.


Neither do I.


Just looking at this again:

Here is the statement of the Stoic Epictetus (via Ariann) in relation to prayer:

    "Nevertheless he has placed by every man a guardian,
    every man's Daimon, to whom he has committed the care of the man,
    a guardian who never sleeps, is never deceived.
    For to what better and more careful guardian could He have entrusted each of us?
    When, then, you have shut the doors and made darkness within,
    remember never to say that you are alone, for you are not;
    but God is within, and your Daimon is within, and what need
    have they of light to see what you are doing?
    To this God you ought to swear an oath just as the soldiers do to Caesar."
    .

Here is what Jesus says about Christian prayer according to the source Matthew 6:6

    6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father,
    who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

There appears to be a direct correlation between the theology of Stoic message and the theology of the Christian message. What Jesus (via Matthew) calls the unseen "Father", the Stoics (here via Epictetus) call the unseen God - coupled with the unseen personal "guardian spirit".

On the surface of things it would appear that the anonymous Christian authors have simply borrowed the pre-existing theological concepts of the Stoic philosophers. The Christian "Father" figure has been promoted to that place previously occupied by the Stoic God-Spirit. Everyone in the Roman empire in the first few centuries would have been entirely familiar with the Stoic concept of theology. Even a Roman Emperor - Marcus Aurelius - in no uncertain terms expressed this Stoic theology in writing his "Meditations".

Were the Christians were competing within the religious and theological sector of the Roman Empire by spreading a rebadged theology during the early centuries? A dominance which was then capitalised upon at the Nicene council? Or was Christian theology fabricated by a literary school specifically designed to compose "authorised literature" during a late and hostile take-over of the pre-existing religious sector? This sector was an extremely lucrative industry before it was replaced by the Christian church industry. Do we need to make a study of the economics of the Nicene Church?
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Re: Historical Jesus

#43139  Postby proudfootz » Jun 29, 2020 10:48 am

Hermann Detering discusses Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?

Ehrman goes to great lengths to introduce us to the sources which, in his opinion, reliably attest to the existence of a historical Jesus. To quote Horace, “Parturiunt montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.” Before the curtain finally opens and reveals a considerable number of Jesus witnesses to the curious gaze of the reader, a series of preliminaries and fundamental methodological considerations must be made. What we learn in the relevant chapters about the value and worthlessness of historical sources is indeed informative, but will have little new to offer to all those who have attended a historical proseminar once in their lives. Be that as it may, Ehrman advocates good and healthy principles, such as that multiple testimonies please the heart of the historian, or that “disinterested” and independent sources deserve preference over others, etc. (p. 41) – one only wished that he himself would also give them due consideration in the later sections. In a section on sources that we do not have, he also admits that we do not have authentic illustrations of Jesus, nor scriptures written by himself, nor eyewitness accounts (p. 49).

This is all well and good but could be further elaborated when applied to specific cases, which Ehrman certainly does not feel is necessary. Ehrman could have taken the trouble to make clear to the reader the full extent of the difficulties in which the defenders of Jesus’ historicity find themselves when they refer to external witnesses.

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Re: Historical Jesus

#43140  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 03, 2020 5:22 am

proudfootz wrote:Hermann Detering discusses Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist?




More from Detering in regard to the Pliny/Trajan correspondence.


If you don’t know any problems, the world is all right for you!

These and many other problems need to be clarified when examining the question of the external testimony of the 10th book of correspondence which Ehrman, of course, pays little attention to, not to say completely ignores. Without going into further details, which are dealt with in detail in False Witnesses, we may note: the collection of letters seems to have come to the light of public attention for the first time through the discovery of the monk, theologian, antiquarian and architect Fra Giocondo (around the turn of the 14th and 15th centuries). Its authenticity was controversial from the beginning! The allusions that can be found in the literature of the Church Fathers after Tertullian, in reality, all go back to a passage in Tertullian. The passage in his apology was not a reference to the Epistle of Pliny, as is often assumed, but probably – as so often – an imaginative invention of the Church Father. As is well known, he knows a number of other questionable documents. For example, he claimed that Pilate, who was “himself already a Christian in his innermost being, had reported about Christ to the then Emperor Tiberius”. The scripture mentioned by Tertullian probably refers to the Acta Pilati, but its existence is disputed and, if it should have existed, it was certainly not authentic. Also, the “Christian Letter” of Tertullian was, if it should have existed, an equally imaginative Apocryphon.

In other words: Obviously the text of Tertullian in the Apologeticum served the later forger (Fra Giocondo?) as a prompt and inspiration for the writing of the so-called “Christian letter”. This suspicion can be further substantiated by a closer comparison of the text of Pliny with the passage in Tertullian’s Apologeticum.

Anyone who has taken a closer look at the problems of Pliny’s Letters to Christians can guess that Ehrman’s great self-confidence is obviously based simply on ignorance of the problems! If you don’t know any problems, the world is all right for you! Let him have it – only he should not denigrate critics who have dealt with it a little more than he has.



Detering's points out that Bart has swept all the negative evidence against the integrity of the Pliny/Trajan correspondence under the carpet.
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